Editors note: We’ve decided to put this under H for Hypersexuality as the author realised she wasn’t asexual and does not feel comfortable writing for or about asexuality beyond her short, confused experience.
Millennials are having less sex than their Baby Boomer parents and Gen X managers were at the same age. This is pretty difficult to believe considering the amount of sex on television, Tinder/Grindr/etc, explosion of porn, sexualised advertising, and the fact that our generation is the most relaxed about sex, sexuality and gende yet (that is, until the iGen start reaching university and the workforce and their voices become louder).
One major theory behind our lack of sex is that because it’s so openly discussed, we are less pressured to have it, another is that we are more disconnected and isolated than everYep due to technology and our higher rates of mental health issues.
The thing is, most millennials don’t KNOW that we are having less sex as a generation than those before us and, as a result, it’s easy to feel like there’s something wrong with us if we aren’t getting laid as often as our favourite characters on television are.
At 27 years old (nearly 28), I know virgins, I know people who have a rotating door of new lovers every week and I know people who have been dating the same person since high school. I also know that for the last 12 months, I’ve had zero sex drive and was beginning to think I might be asexual.
You might ask, why did I think I was asexual and not just going through a period of celibacy? Firstly, because celibacy is a choice while asexual is a complete lack of sex drive or desire (the latter being what I was experiencing) and secondly, we are all well aware that sexuality and gender are fluid and I figured that maybe this was my sexuality fluidly moving from one state to another.
In the early days of my negative sex drive, I blamed my inability to get over my ex and my disinterest in one night stands as the reasons I didn’t want to sleep with anyone. As it went on, I started to wonder if perhaps I’d reached a higher power and realised that being single is the superior state of being (which actually, I still believe).
Then, I began to research asexuality, wondering if I might find myself in the ace community. (I’m definitely not aromantic – I have fallen in love more than once.)
Asexuality didn’t seem that absurd to me, particularly considering I’d always considered my sex drive to be (just) below average (this was based on a general overview of my quite wide and diverse group of friends and where theirs sat, although it now seems that I just happen to hang out with people with VERY high sex drives) and perhaps I’d find my community in the oft-forgotten A of the rainbow alphabet.
It was a shock to me then that recently, while I was reading a book, my sex drive suddenly turned back on and I decided I had needs that needed being taken care of ASAP. I booty-called a boy I’d been on a handful of dates earlier that month and invited him over the following night. Yes suddenly I had needs, after over 12 months of showing no interest in the opposite sex (or even the same sex or GNB folx or anyone actually), even after I forced myself to go on more dates than you can imagine and feeling apathy after every single one.
I spoke with a female friend about my feelings and she said she experienced the exact same thing not too long ago, having an extended period (her’s was also about a year) where she had negative sex drive and began to wonder if she might be asexual.
Both of us suffer from anxiety and considering depression can have an effect on your libido, when we spoke about our experiences together, we also explored the possibility that our anxiety was at play and perhaps us regaining some control of our mental health helped us awaken our sex drives again.
Throughout my entire period of weird-limbo-potential-asexuality, I felt broken, I felt like there was something wrong with my lack of desire (despite the fact that I KNOW asexuality is not a defect, just another sexuality alongside gay, lesbian, bi, etc) and I think a lot of it stemmed from this society of hypersexuality that we live in and the way social media, TV shows, films, ads and music videos perpetuateit. I mean honestly, these things that are loved by millennials make it seem like sex is so accessible and everyone is having it when in actual fact, we most definitely are not.
My year of no libido made me realise one thing: there is no normal and even less so, there is no singular state for any one person and sexuality is fluid in more ways than one. Asexuality sits on one end of a spectrum with high libido sitting at the other and I happen to be the kind of person who fluidly moves up and down that scale.
Screw hypersexuality, our generation preaches sex on our own terms and in our own time, so it’s high time we started living that sentiment.